I was mystified by Sen. Mike Lee’s description of President Trump as a “gift,” and by the daft post-hearing comments of Sens. Lindsey Graham and John Kennedy. All three are smart, well-educated men. What could cause them to say such absurd things? Then a clarifying analogy presented itself.

I recently read a scientific article about a fungus (genus Ophiocordyceps) that infects certain ants. The fungus has the ability to commandeer the ant’s nervous system. The normal behavioral repertoire of the unfortunate insect is completely disrupted and supplanted by a set of behaviors that entirely serves the reproductive prospects of the fungus. The ant dies and the fungus prospers.

President Trump appears to have an analogous ability. While he can’t literally infect people, he is somehow readily able to commandeer the brains of Republican politicians. Like Ophiocordyceps, he has the ability to completely disrupt the politicians’ normal cognitive processes and replace them with a set of reflexes that serves exclusively to further his interests. The politicians and their party are sacrificed and Trump prospers. The rule of law and the American people suffer collateral damage.

We desperately need an effective antifungal treatment.

Howard B. Parker, Salt Lake City